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Add Intelligence to Your Processes

27 Jan, 2016 By: Christina Robbins, Digitech Systems, Inc

Do you know what the next big technology trend will be? After weathering changes like mobile, cloud, and big data, you may find yourself exhausted by just the topic of technology change. However, it doesn’t have to be hard to take advantage of key technology trends, and getting ahead of the next trend can reap big benefits for your business opportunities as a Value-added Reseller (VAR).

Several market dynamics are currently converging to signal that the next critical technology trend is likely to be the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms into business applications. To help you take advantage, it’s important to understand which dynamics are signaling this trend, to gain a basic understanding of some of the key differentiators between AI engines, and to know how to apply AI-driven products to real world business issues for your customers. As you do so, you’ll find yourself better able to address customers concerns both today and over the next decade, and your business will boom!

What’s Driving Artificial Intelligence?

In the last few years, we seen a number of large tech companies invest heavily in the area of AI research and development. For example, IBM is committed to turning the science behind Watson, the artificial intelligence system that beat competitors on Jeopardy in 2011, into practical applications that solve real world business challenges. In addition, Google has acquired numerous deep learning experts and companies to assist its Google Brain project, which started with engineers struggling to replace manual recognition of street-level photos of addresses with a computer that could perform this task automatically. With all this investment, how big will the opportunity be?

According to Research and Markets

The market opportunity for AI systems for enterprise applications will grow from $202.5 million in 2015 to $11.1 billion by 2024, a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of more than 56%! That makes AI one of the fastest growing market segments overall, and it will be a great place for you to have expertise over the coming decade. (https://www.narrativescience.com/filebin/images/Landing_Page/2015_State_of_AI_and_Big_Data_in_the_Enterprise.pdf)

What’s driving this explosive growth? At least three things are contributing to the interest in AI research and technologies. First, the explosion of data in all its forms has consumers and businesses scrambling to find cost-effective solutions that enable them to intelligently find the critical data they need to make smart decisions. Just how big is “big” data? IDC estimates that between 2009 and 2020, the data we need to keep track of will grow by 44 times! I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I can keep track of that many more files and records than I already have without some help. Second, the lessons we learned during recent tough economic times still linger in our memories and are affecting our business decisions and hiring practices. Consumers demand ever greater process efficiency and cost savings in an environment in which there are fewer bodies to do the work and more intense information security standards prevail. Finally, the computational power needed for artificial intelligence algorithms is significant, and only recently has computer hardware manufacturing started to produce machines capable of the intense calculations needed for AI to operate efficiently. Quite simply, though we’ve been able to theorize AI processes in the past, these market developments are now allowing AI experts to build and test their ideas in the real world.

Distinguishing AI

At the intersection of these three mega trends, we find data management solutions that leverage AI engines and algorithms to help companies sort important business information from all the other “stuff,” enabling good decisions and smart records management. Not surprisingly, many technologies have started marketing themselves as AI, so it’s important for you to understand the different types of AI and what those differences mean for your customers.

Many businesses today are living with complex information challenges, because the products available in today’s marketplace simply are not capable of solving these problems. Unfortunately, as companies continue to develop software using traditional methodologies and practices, they will be unable to address these challenges. Today’s data problems require a different approach—an innovation in the very way we develop software. Here’s where AI algorithms become critical, because they allow systems to evaluate problems involving very large data sets much more quickly than today’s linear programming. An AI engine looks at the problem from an all-new perspective.

How does AI operate differently? Alan Turing was a British mathematician who postulated two theories of AI, both of which underlie modern computing. First, classical or deterministic programming includes software applications that execute a known series of steps in a pre-programmed sequence to arrive at a solution. These applications work well when working with a known data set that has a limited number of known possible outcomes. Most of today’s computer applications fall into this category. Second, non-deterministic AI engines can explore an exponentially large number of inputs to arrive at a previously unknown output through the recognition of patterns and categories of data. In an area of AI known as machine learning, these non-deterministic engines learn and adapt; they are not taught. This is the area of AI that promises dramatic breakthroughs in our ability to intelligently manage data processes.

Confused? Without diving too deeply into the complex mathematical formulas underlying AI, you can explain the advantages of AI to your customers using this analogy. Let’s assume you are confronted by the challenge of determining which door in a hallway filled with an infinite number of doors conceals a prize. A traditional, deterministic application would open each door in turn as it sequentially moved down the hallway until the prize is located. Alternatively, a non-deterministic AI engine would approach the challenge from a new angle—perhaps finding a way to open all doors simultaneously or it may peek over the wall to see where the prize is hidden. The end result is that the non-deterministic engine solves the problem much more quickly and less expensively than the traditional software application.

Real Customer: Saving Time and Money on AP

The ability of artificial intelligence to more quickly and accurately sort information can play a huge roll in streamlining processes for your customers. For example, reducing the processing time and cost of invoices is a perennial goal for many CFOs, and AI can help, as demonstrated by MSI Mold Builders.

Headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA, Mold Builders designs and makes custom manufacturing molds. They receive about 1200 invoices monthly, and were struggling to address them effectively in a paper-based environment. To help automate AP processes, they implemented an ECM system in 2015, which included an artificial intelligence engine to classify invoices by type and extract important data for their accounting system. Thanks to the AI assist, they have shortened invoice processing time by more than 45 minutes per invoice and reduced the cost per invoice by almost $50! Jason Sojka, the Network and Computer Systems Manager said, “PaperVision Forms Magic has revolutionized our AP processes! We’ve been able to cut our invoice processing times by more than 75%! We’re saving the organization money and improving relationships with our business partners.” These improvements result in total annual savings for Mold Builders of $676,000.

Artificial intelligence based technologies offer exciting possibilities for businesses to improve process efficiencies, boost control of information, and save money. These innovations are just starting to hit the market of products you can add to your offerings, so take the time in 2016 to understand how AI can impact your business and can grow your revenue opportunities over the next decade. You don’t want to miss this important technology trend!

About Digitech Systems, Inc.

Digitech Systems, Inc. enables businesses of any size to more effectively and securely manage, retrieve and store corporate information of any kind using either PaperVision® Enterprise content management (ECM) software or the world’s most trusted cloud-based ECM service, ImageSilo®. Digitech Systems has moved ECM from a luxury convenience to an essential element for every well-managed business by improving efficiency, boosting information control and saving organizations money. They are the source for EfficiencyNOW! ControlNOW! MoneyNOW! ECMNOW!

Digitech Systems continues to raise the standard of excellence in the ECM sector, as evidenced by the numerous awards they have received including the InfoWorld 100, CRN’s Emerging Tech Dynamos and multiple Nucleus Research ROI Awards. In addition, Buyer’s Lab has recognized both PaperVision® Capture and PaperVision Enterprise as the best products in the enterprise capture and ECM fields. To learn more about the company’s software and services that deliver any document, anywhere, anytime, visit www.digitechsystems.com

About the Author: Christina Robbins

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